COVID-19 Test to Release

What is Covid-19 Test to Release?

Test to Release is a government scheme to enable people arriving in the England to reduce the amount of time for which they must self isolate.  The government have appointed DocTap as an official Test to Release provider.

Anyone who arrives in England from outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man needs to self-isolate for 10 days.  Under the Test to Release scheme, you can choose to pay for a private Covid-19 coronavirus test after you have been in England for 5 full days. For instance, if you arrive in the UK on Monday then Tuesday would be your first full day in the UK, and you cannot take the test for Saturday. 

If the test result is negative then you can stop self-isolating immediately.

How to take advantage of Test to Release

  1. Book a Covid-19 Test to Release appointment for 5 full days after you arrive in England. You should book your test before you travel to England. You will receive your results the morning after taking the test and can then stop self isolating if they are negative.
  2. You will be asked to fill in a passenger locator form before you enter the UK.  This can be completed any time in the 48 hours prior to arrival.  You will need to enter your DocTap Test to Release reference number which will be in the subject of your DocTap booking confirmation email.

Should you wish to take part in the scheme after arriving in the UK then you can do, but you will need to fill in another passenger locator form.

Please note that Test to Release is not available to arrivals from certain high risk countries.  Please see the latest list of countries here.

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Test to Release Tests

Test Price Results
PCR Next Day from £139 By 11pm next day

Our standard Covid-19 PCR test has guaranteed results by 11pm the next day, or your money back. To guarantee consistency of supply, we work with 2 laboratories for this test.  All our tests are processed at a laboratory which operates according to the ISO 17025 standard and has been validated against a UKAS-accredited method.  One of them is still awaiting formal UKAS accreditation. If you require a test from a UKAS lab, please book at one of the following locations: Oxford Street, London Bridge, Victoria, Pimlico, Tower Bridge, Battersea and Clapham South.

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Why Choose DocTap Covid-19 Testing?

Widest range of Tests
30+ London clinics
Covid-19 tests from £59
3 hour PCR results
Doctor's certificate included
Money back results guarantee
Over 80,000 tests completed
Government approved provider

Test to Release - FAQ

test to release

You can book your test to release test as far in advance as you wish. Please note that the appointment date must be at least 5 full days from when you arrive in England. Please book your test before you travel to England.  This is so that you can enter the details of your test when you opt into the scheme on the passenger locator form.  If you decide to participate in the scheme after you have arrived in England, you will need to complete another passenger locator form.

In most cases we would advise you choose a test with same day results to maximise your benefit from the scheme.

Passengers arriving from any of the following countries are not permitted to make use of the Test to Release scheme and must self isolate for the full 10 days. 

  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Burundi
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Ecuador
  • Eswatini
  • French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • South Africa
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

* accurate at 29th January 2021. The latest restrictions are shown here.

If your Covid-19 test is positive then you will be required to self-isolate for another 10 days. Count the 10 days starting from the day you took the test, or from when you first had symptoms if that is earlier.

People you are living or staying with should also self-isolate for 10 days from the date of your positive test.

Travel corridors were suspended on 18th January 2021.

If you are arriving in England from anywhere outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man then you will need to self-isolate on arrival.

No. The Test to Release scheme only applies to people travelling to England.


We are pleased to have the widest range and best priced Covid-19 tests of any London clinic.  Please visit the booking page for a full list of tests, prices and availability.  Some of our most popular tests are:

  • PCR Test (next day) - from £139
  • PCR Test (3 hours / same day) - £199
  • Antigen Test - from £79
  • Antibody Test - from £59

All tests are booked online here. Simply select Covid-19 Coronavirus Test / Fit to Fly.  Then choose the type of test which you require and it will show you all the clinic locations and times you can book. Different clinics offer different types of test, so you may wish to select a couple of different test types to find the most convenient location for you. PCR tests cost from £139 and point of care tests from £59.

All our tests are carried out at one of our 30+ London clinics, staffed by healthcare professionals.  To select a location, simply visit the booking page and select Covid-19 Coronavirus Test / Fit to Fly.  Choose the type of test which you require and it will show you all the available clinic locations and times. Different clinics offer different types of test, so you may wish to select a couple of different test types to find the most convenient location for you.

You can change your test free of charge or cancel for a full refund so long as you have not yet taken the test.  We are not able to make changes or refunds after you have taken the test.  To change or cancel your test please log into your DocTap account. 

Simply book a test for the first member of your party.  Then repeat the process for another test, but on the payment screen enter the details of the second person.  Repeat for any other members of your party.

If you have accidentally booked multiple tests for the same person then don't worry, you will receive an automated email checking that this is what you wanted.  To make a change simply reply to the email with the second person's details. Please ensure we have the correct details before you take your test.

results and certificates

Different tests have different turnaround times.  These are explained at the time that you book your Covid-19 test.  You will receive your results and doctor's certificate by email within the specified timeframe.  They will also be available to download from your DocTap portal at the same time.  We currently offer the following options for results:

  • PCR - 3 hours (Heathrow Airport & London Bridge only)
  • PCR - Same day by 10pm
  • PCR - Next day by 11pm
  • Antigen - 3 hours
  • Antibody (Instant) - 3 hours
  • Antibody (laboratory) - 3 days

Unfortunately we are unable to speed up your results once you have taken your test.  Therefore, if you need faster results, please change your appointment type to a faster service before taking the test. You can do this in your DocTap account portal.

After taking your test you will receive an email explaining all the notifications you will receive as your test sample moves through the testing process, together with when can expect to receive them.  These vary a little depending on the exact test and location booked, but they are typically:

  • Your test is collected by our courier to take to the laboratory
  • The lab start testing your sample
  • Your results are ready

If you have not received a notification by the advised time then please do let us know and we shall look into it immediately.  If the notification is not yet due then please don't contact us as it will almost certainly still be being processed and we are unable to check up on tests until they are due.

No, you will still get your results in exacly the same timeframe, regardless of which day of the week  you have your test.  Our laboratories and support team operate 7 days per week.

Once you have taken your test we are unable to speed up your results. We have integrated with our laboratory partners to ensure that you will automatically receive your results and doctor's certificate as soon a they are released by the laboratory.  If you have not yet taken your test, you can always change to a faster test if required.  We can provide results in 3 hours from our Heathrow test site, and by 10pm the same day from multiple London locations. To change your test please log into your DocTap acccount.

test details and timings

PCR tests require a swab to be taken from the back of your throat and nose.  It can be a little uncomfortable but should not hurt.  This can either be a guided self swab or taken by a healthcare professional. Our same day and 3 hour tests only require a sample from the back of your throat, which some people may prefer. You can choose which you prefer when booking your test.

Antibody and Antigen tests will always be carried out by a healthcare professional.

No. We are only able to offer tests for patient who do not have symptoms of Covid-19. You will be asked to confirm this on booking.  If you have symptoms please book an NHS test.

PCR is the PHE approved, gold standard Covid-19 test.  This is a SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) reverse transcriptase real-time PCR swab. We work with 2 different laboratory partners to guarantee that we will always have a supply of tests. 

All our 3 hour and same day tests are carried out at a UKAS accredited laboratory. Next day tests at our Oxford Street, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Victoria, Pimlico, Holborn, Mornington Crescent, Chelsea, Battersea, Swiss cottage and Angel clinics are also tested at a UKAS accredited lab. Next day PCR tests at our other locations are carried out at our London laboratory which operates according to the ISO 17025 standard and has been validated against a UKAS-accredited method, but is still awaiting formal UKAS accreditation. Whilst we are not aware of any countries not accepting their results, please always check your exact requirements before booking.

When attending your appointment, please bring your booking reference number (in your confirmation email) and some photo identification.  Your ID needs to match the name that the booking is under.

No.  We legally have to capture additional information such as your travel history and self isolation address for Test to Release bookings. You will be asked for this information on the final step on the booking page.  Therefore, it is essential that you choose a Test to Release appointment rather than just a PCR test when you book your test.

As a precaution against any disruption to supply, we partner with 2 PCR laboratories for Covid-19 testing. Laboratories require separate government approval to participate in the Test to Release scheme.  At the current time, only one of our laboratories have this. Therefore, when you select a Test to Release appointment you will see a slightly reduced range of clinic locations. This is so that we can ensure your PCR test is conducted at the appropriate laboratory.

We can carry out PCR tests on young children. Some healthcare professionals will not be comfortable taking a swab from very young children as it can be stressful for the child if carried out by someone they do not know.  If this is the case they will be able to assist and guide the parent to take a swab from the child.

We are unable to carry out antigen tests on children under 5 years old. Children under 5 should have a PCR test.

No. Given the critical importance of fast results and correct swab technique we do not entrust your test sample to the postal system.  All samples are taken in one of our 30+ medical centres located across London.  We then have our team of in house couriers who collect them to take to the laboratory. In this way we are confident we can offer the highest level of accuracy and reliability for your Covid test.

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Please note that our provision of Covid-19 coronavirus tests does not impact on NHS test availability, instead, by providing the tests at competitive prices compared with other providers, our service aims to work as a helpful adjunct to the NHS by increasing testing options in the community. We also report all positive results to Public Health England, and this is obligatory.

Important note: where patients are taking a self swab they must do as directed in the instructions provided.  Failure to take a swab as directed, or to take a swab on behalf of someone else is a gross breach of the terms of this service.

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